Friday, November 26, 2010

Four Loko

Here's your weekly current event post.  Attorneys general in some states are increasingly trying to make headlines speaking out about the dangers of alcohol-packed energy drinks (i.e. Four Loko).  You may have read in the news lately that Four Loko and other such caffeine-based alcohol is "gaining favor at college parties and bars."  Gaining favor?  Are they suggesting that college students and bars never mixed caffeine and alcohol before?  Yeah, prior to the attorneys general getting involved, college students surely never mixed a red bull/vodka or rum and coke.  Despite being thousands of miles away from the mainland hoopla, Hawai'i can't escape the hype. Officials here are already talking about regulating the marketing of the drinks.  Four Loko was discussed at the annual conference of Hawai'i state liquor commissions on Kaua'i last week to talk about whether the State should ban or restrict the drink's availability in Hawaii.

Hawaii News Now questioned students at the University of Hawaii who explained why Four Loko is popular.  They say price (under $3 for a 23.5 ounce can), colorful packaging, taste, availability, potency, and caffeine content are all reasons why Four Loko has made such a splash.  "It doesn't taste like alcohol you know. Like beer or hard liquor, you'll have like that taste and you won't be able to drink a lot of it, but Four Loko it masks the taste so much that you just want to keep drinking it. And it's good. It's like fruit flavored," said UH Junior Bryan Lewandowski.

These kids are morons.  And so are the people who say that Four Loko is causing car accidents, sexual assaults, and hospitalizations.  There have been several newspaper articles in Hawai'i saying that perpetrators of sexual assaults MAY have been drinking Four Loko.  Four Loko is 12% abv.  One 24-oz can is about the same as 3-4 beers.  Yes, if you pound 5 cans of Four Loko, you're going to be drunk and probably get sick and maybe do something stupid.  Going out and drinking 10 beers will lead to the same thing.  Getting drunk makes people stupid.  That's part of the fun.  But that's nothing new and Four Loko has nothing to do with people being stupid.  It is a mistake to think that banning Four Loko is going to stop college students from binge drinking.  It is also a mistake to think they will stop mixing red bull and vodka.  It is an even bigger joke that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is getting involved saying that caffeine is an unsafe additive to alcohol.  I really hate government intervention.  They always screw shit up.  This is no different.  All this hype is the best marketing strategy Four Loko could have possibly hoped for.  In fact, I had never even heard of it until all this hit the media.  I also never had any interest in trying it.  Until now.

What did I do as soon as I was told I might not be allowed to try something? I went out an bought some.  Yes, it was cheap.  But it also tasted like shit.  Anyone who says this stuff is addictive because of its sweet taste is lying or seriously screwed up.  It tasted like fruit-flavored piss in a can.  I tried the Watermelon (which tasted nothing like watermelon) and Cranberry Lemonade.  If kids drink enough of this stuff to get sick, they deserve what happens to them.  I just keep thinking about those experiments where the rat is lured to cheese that gives an electric shock.  Even the rat learns not to go back and do it again.  If college kids can't figure it out...well...Darwin had a theory for them.  In the end, I had a slight buzz from one and a half cans, but I wasn't running through the streets going streaking.

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